JIS News

Reforestation of the Upper Rio Bueno/White River (Ocho Rios) Watershed Area will be discussed at a two-day stakeholder meeting, to be hosted by the Ecosystems Management Branch of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
The forum will be held from July 8 to 9 at the Executive Shaw Park Guest House in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Public Education and Community Outreach Officer at NEPA, George Davis, told JIS News that the consultation is in preparation of a pilot project which will come on stream later this year.
“Given the severe damage as a result of recent flood rains, NEPA is endeavouring to identify critical sections in the watershed which require enhanced forest cover as a means of controlling the release of storm water and sediments downstream. The consultation is also intended to obtain stakeholder input with respect to site selection, tree species suitability or desirability and monitoring requirements with respect to the viability of the trees after they have been planted,” Mr. Davis said.
The objectives of the proposed pilot project, he said, include improvement of the status of the watersheds through public awareness and stakeholder participation; protection of critical surface water features, livelihood and infrastructure; promotion of the integrated protection, conservation and development of the land and water sources in these watersheds to ensure sustainable use; and enhancement of biodiversity habitat and protection.
Participants in the forum will include representatives from the Ministry of Water and Housing, National Water Commission (NWC), Forestry Department, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Social Development Commission (SDC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), St. Ann Parish Council, Ocho Rios Preserve Trust, the White River Watershed Stakeholders Committee and Hills United Development Organisation, among others.